This panel explores the politics of non-normative sexualities in modern Japanese literature, examining the processes behind the formation of these sexual expressions and transgressive body images and how these representations have related to changing socio-cultural and political circumstances.
This panel explores the politics of non-normative sexualities in Japanese literature, examining the processes behind the formation of these sexual expressions and transgressive body images and how these representations have related to changing socio-cultural and political circumstances. All three papers explore various types of relationships and body images in different time periods but they are closely related in their attempts to focus on the sexual behavior or images that invert, contradict, or present an alternative to commonly held cultural codes, values, and norms, and simultaneously endorse certain norms by transgressing them. These non-normative sexualities are thereupon presented as highly charged intersections and mediations of various social and political forces. Takayuki Yokota-Murakami will demonstrate the way the association with peripheral topoi, such as Manchuria, can function to achieve authorization of non-standard sex through the representative Meiji literary texts, particularly focusing on semi-tabooed uncle-niece incest relationship in Shimazaki Tōson's Vita Nova and brother-sister incest in Futabatei Shimei's In His Image, where recuperation of patriarchal ego after the violation of a sexual code was sought through the tentative assimilation to the margin of the dominant political field of the Empire. Linda Galvane will explore the representations of queer female bodies and sexuality related to enema in the influential "magazine of perverse desire" Kitan Club. She will demonstrate how the inflation of female bodies resulting from enema resembles procreation but as a non-productive sexual practice can be read as a remonstration to the pre-war imperial ideology of "good wife, wise mother." Noriko Hiraishi develops the theme of female queer bodies further, focusing on the thematics of "female freaks." With Matsuura Rieko's novel Apprenticeship of Big Toe P at the core of her analysis, Hiraishi will examine the representations of female sexuality and body transgressions within the socio-cultural and political context of 1990s Japan. By examining the expressions of sexuality positioned on the peripheries - geo-political, cultural, and gender - this panel thus focuses on the political signification of transgressive sexualities and explores how these representations in Japanese modern literature reveal often ignored aspects of the dialogue between the dominant and the subordinate.